Why the Acceptance of Failure is Critical to Your Success

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The guys fresh out of grad school sat around in these magnificent huge black leather chairs, smoking the finest cigars they could afford. They were beyond themselves when they took a look at what they were about to create for the world.

The first ever accountability app that would automatically hold you financially accountable for getting stuff done. This app would become the most anticipated app on everyone’s smart phone. They knew they had a winner.

But getting this behemoth off the ground was going to be a dog. A big hairy, mangy dog who hasn’t eaten in about a week. So they laid out all their plans, maniacally.

Step-by-step, they checked off their own list of to-dos. Good thing they had created their app to help them too!

Slip Ups Happen

They were all set and launch day came and went. Only instead of hearing cha-ching, like they hoped, they heard those pesky yard bugs that always sing when you’re dreaming of a standing ovation.

Robert and Sam had done everything they were supposed to.. Andrew and Mick did, too. But something backfired. They had forgotten to validate their idea, to check in with their market and see if people would actually be willing to pay for it.

Their brilliant idea was now one that no one was going to ever know.

Devastated, they went home and sulked, like any good failure and drowned their sorrows in the bulkiest bowl of Lucky Charms ever consumed. Followed by chips, Hershey Kisses, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Because hey, loss of capital equals loss of self-control.

They sank $100k into launching it and that was every dime they had.

After weeks of kicking themselves and going back to a job they’d been trying to get out of for years, they realized what they had done wrong. Now what? They had a choice. They could quit now and wash their hands with it or they could dig in and figure it out. They opted to correct their course and move forward.

They corrected their misstep by reframing what they were offering, updated the app with some minor changes and powered through with it.

What happened? The app became a powerhouse of the productivity industry. After the initial launch, people took it and ran. That $100k they lost? Became millions earned. What was the difference? They looked at their failure and assessed it through a lens of success. In other words, they discovered that failure was just a part of the journey to be successful in business. They missed that class in grad school…

Failure Isn’t Shame

Far too often, team leaders, entrepreneurs, salespeople give up when they fail. They get discouraged because they feel like they’re labeled “failures”. They begin to believe that that one idea gone haywire is who they are and that they can’t succeed.

They feel like all their ideas will produce the same results.

But the opposite is true.

History Says Otherwise

Thomas Edison was told he was too dumb to do anything….

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper because he lacked imagination…

Fred Astaire was told by an industry executive that he “Can’t sing. Can’t act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little.”

Dyson, you know of the Dyson suck-up-your-face-and-everything-else-in-the-room vacs…over 5,000 failed prototypes. 5000 failures! And now it’s a billion-dollar business.

Stephen King threw his first manuscript in the trash after it was rejected by 30 publishers. His wife pulled it out and pushed him to keep trying. 350 billion copies later, King’s laughing in the faces of those 30 houses.

The queen of TV (Oprah) was fired from her TV reporting job as she was dubbed “not suitable for television”.

As it turns out, failure isn’t a reason to quit. It’s a reason to power forward. It’s a reason to continue on your path to immortality. All great people were once great failures. Failure is a common denominator for successful people.

How to make failure your BFF @ work:

  1. Don’t let your eyes glaze over if you fail. Dig in and see WHY it failed. That’s the key: Taking apart that why and learning from it, applying it properly, and letting it teach you what you didn’t know. You are not losing, you are learning!
  2. Allow yourself a little recoup time (grief). When you put your heart into something that doesn’t work, it hurts. A lot. Let it. But not for long. Tell yourself after X hours, you’re going to walk away from the pain and push through to the next step. Surround yourself with others and share the experience… In order to let it go, you must first let it out.
  3. Know that each time you fail, success is that much closer because you’ve found one more way that didn’t work. And eventually, the only path left will be the one that leads to the win. Without struggle, there is no progress!

Failure is an acquired taste but one you must get used to if indeed you want to be wildly successful.

Written by

Keynote Speaker | Mindfulness Maven | Happiness Muse | Author | Diversity & Inclusion Advocate | www.devinchughes.com

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